A’s, Angels both hope to turn things around
OAKLAND, Calif. — Two teams reeling after getting swept by clubs ahead of them in the American League West look to get things going in a positive direction at the other’s expense when the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics open a three-game series Friday night.
The Angels won five of seven from the A’s in March and April, including three of four in Oakland to start the season.
Left-hander Tyler Skaggs (5-4, 3.08 ERA), who contributed to the Angels’ early run against the A’s with an impressive outing in the second game of the season, will get the call in the series opener against Oakland right-hander Chris Bassitt (0-1, 1.29).
The Angels have lost four in a row, the last three in Seattle, since Skaggs last pitched on Saturday at Minnesota. The 26-year-old won that game 2-1, giving him consecutive victories in which he allowed just one run in 13 innings.
He’s gone just 1-4 with a 5.08 ERA in six career starts against the A’s.
The Angels limp into Oakland at the end of a nine-game trip on which they’ve gone 2-4 so far. They are currently without shortstop Andrelton Simmons, third baseman Zack Cozart, outfielder Kole Calhoun and outfielder/pitcher Shohei Ohtani.
The club promoted David Fletcher from Triple-A to replace Simmons, and the 24-year-old banged out three hits in his major-league debut Wednesday at Seattle.
But with Cozart, who had moved to shortstop while Fletcher manned third base, having injured his shoulder in the game, it’s possible the rookie will find himself at shortstop at some point in this series.
It’s not exactly the way Angels manager Mike Scioscia had envisioned using the young player upon his initial call-up.
“It’s not ideal to have young players who aren’t out there hitting every day,” Scioscia said of Fletcher’s current status. “But there is still a role for them to help us win games.”
The A’s enter the series relatively healthy, but a bit shaken emotionally after getting shellacked three straight at home by Houston. Oakland had won three of four from Kansas City to begin a 10-game homestand.
Bassitt will look to end the losing streak with a performance similar to the one he put forth Saturday upon being called up from Triple-A.
In his first major-league game since 2016, he limited Kansas City to one run and three hits in seven innings in a 2-0 loss.
The 29-year-old hasn’t seen the Angels since 2015, when he faced them twice, including a September start in which he yielded six runs in 3 2/3 innings in an 8-1 loss.
Bassitt logged an 0-1 record and 9.53 ERA in those two appearances.
The A’s were outscored 26-11 in the Houston series, with Khris Davis accounting for a majority of the offense with three home runs among five hits. He scored five times and drove in three.
Davis’ home run Thursday was his 20th of the season, giving this series two of the AL’s four sluggers with 20 or more homers. The Angels’ Mike Trout leads the league with 23.
Oakland’s Matt Chapman left Thursday’s 7-3 loss with a sore right hand. The A’s were awaiting the results of an MRI before determining his status for the Angels series.